Being a trader is one of the most lucrative jobs out there; it’s a job that rewards hard work, fast thinking, and the ability to separate emotion from logic. It also punishes people who overthink things, it punishes people who are tired, or aren’t thinking clearly. It is an intense, difficult job that rewards the best out there.
There are many things that make a good trader, and experience, hard work, research, and knowledge will take you far. But at the end of the day, it’s also about being fast to react to market changes, and your ability to respond to brand new pieces of information flying at you at top speed.
Think of trading like any sport; you need to be physically and mentally prepared for everything if you really want to succeed. Luckily for you, the world of nootropics and cognitive enhancers has exploded in recent years, and we’d like to introduce you to our favorite line, the Performance Lab range of supplements.
One of the best things about trading is the ability to work your own hours, take days off when you want to, and avoid long commutes, business meetings, and office politics. So how come so many traders are stressed?
This may just be anecdotal, but it definitely feels like trading can be more stressful than most regular jobs, and there are a number of issues that traders face while working. Here are a few of them:
Mental Fatigue: This issue is probably the most common one that traders experience; feeling like your decision making has become impaired can lead you to feel tired mentally. Mental fatigue is different to physical fatigue; you aren’t struggling to lift a heavy weight like you would in the gym, but simple decision making can become difficult. You may find that obvious solutions to issues escape you, that you have no clarity. Mental fatigue can also come with stress, speaking of which …
Stress: There are so many issues related to stress that one article could not adequately address them all. But stress is such a big issue because it snowballs. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and while it has many benefits, prolonged cortisol rises can lead to bad sleep, lowered testosterone, depression, and weight gain. These issues can in turn lead to more stress … a vicious cycle. Stress can also affect your cognition and decision making. A stressed trader is far more likely to make costly mistakes or miss out on lucrative opportunities.
Bad Sleep: Thanks to elevated stress, poor sleep is very common among traders. Lowered testosterone levels are also associated with bad sleep. Bad sleep can also affect your appetite leading to weight gain, which in turn can badly affect sleep quality. Bad sleep will also affect cognition and therefore lead to mistakes.
Burnout: This last issue isn’t really a scientific term, but it is a good description of something that affects many long-term traders. All the issues mentioned above can lead to a loss of focus, an inability to concentrate, bad decisions, stress, confusion, and fatigue (mental and physical). Burnout is a common reason given by traders as to why they gave up.
As you can see, a lot of the issues mentioned above are all linked to each other. Bad sleep can cause mental fatigue, which can increase stress, and affect sleep even more. That feeling that everything is piling up on you? Well in a way it is, one problem leads to another etc.… Luckily, it is perfectly possible to deal with every issue raised above.
In fact, sorting out one issue can improve other issues in the same way that one problem can lead to other problems (whatever the opposite of a vicious cycle is?).
In this article we will take a look at some effective nootropics that can help you deal with trading, as well as some other methods to help you trade at full capacity.
What are Nootropics?
Nootropics sound quite exotic (and in a way they are), but another way of describing them would be supplements for the brain. They are designed to boost your cognition (how you adapt to and process information) and can improve your mood, self-worth, thinking speed, focus and memory.
Some supplements look to combine performance enhancers with nootropics, particularly pre-workout supplements. While other supplements focus entirely on cognition. While both types have their upsides, for trading you’d probably want to concentrate on the nootropic-only supplements.
You can also get stimulatory or non-stimulatory nootropics. Stimulatory nootropics often contain caffeine and are perfectly acceptable. However, most people take adequate caffeine already, and have built up a tolerance to it. Because of this, many traders would benefit more from non-stim nootropics, which provide the same benefits but without leaving you a twitching mess! Only joking.
But there is a real benefit to taking non-stim nootropics – they won’t affect your sleep if you take them too late. Caffeine (for example) will stay in your system for 6-8 hours after ingestion, meaning that a 6pm coffee could affect your sleep at midnight. Not so when taking non-stim supplements. Which is great news for traders as trading can have you working till late and focus-enhancing supplements will be needed.
Benefits of Nootropics to Traders
There are a variety of nootropics out there that could help traders. Anything that increases focus, memory, and decision making is obviously going to be useful. But there are also nootropics that can improve your sleep, and potentially boost your testosterone.
Why is this important? Well, high-stress environments can lead to interrupted sleep, which can lower testosterone. Low testosterone in men can affect cognition and mood. Boosting t-levels and improving sleep can therefore protect your cognition, banish fatigue, and help you to trade at 100%.
We recommend nootropics from the Performance Lab range – they are GMO, allergen, soy and gluten-free, vegan-friendly and GMP certified. All ingredients and dosages are clearly labelled – meaning you won’t get any nasty surprises when taking their nootropics.
Performance Lab Mind is a great example of a nootropic that could help you to trade better. It contains Citicoline and l-tyrosine (as well as other ingredients). Citicoline (also known as choline) has been shown to increase attention, energize the brain and boost memory and mental processing.
A 2012 study by McGlade et al looked at the effect of choline on attention in healthy adult women . Those women who took choline as opposed to a placebo saw a marked reduction in errors whilst completing a task that required attention.
L-tyrosine has also been shown to boost cognition, improve mood, and memory. Another benefit of l-tyrosine is that it can reduce stress. A 1999 study published in Brain Research Bulletin examined the effects of l-tyrosine on stress during a week of combat training . As you can probably imagine, this would be a period of extreme stress for the participants. The study found that taking l-tyrosine led to a reduction in blood pressure and the preservation of cognition (in other words your ability to think well during stress).
Another supplement that you might consider during trading hours would be the ready-made nootropic stack Mind Lab Pro. It also contains choline, but also contains complimentary ingredients such as Bacopa Monnieri which has been shown to increase attention, improve memory, and reduce anxiety . Lion’s mane mushroom can also lower anxiety and may improve sleep quality.
Mind Lab Pro also includes an ingredient called l-theanine. This is a very exciting nootropic with a lot of studies being published on it recently. It has been shown to increase relaxation, lower anxiety, and improve attention . It also appears to improve sleep quality, making it a fantastic nootropic for the evening, and could do triple-duty by calming the side-effects of any caffeine you ingest.
Performance Lab Sleep is a good idea if you have been having trouble sleeping recently. It contains l-tryptophan, an amino acid that has been consistently shown to improve sleep quality and magnesium which has been shown to also improve sleep quality. It also includes Montmorency tart cherry, a natural source of melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep chemical that tells your body when to prepare for sleep, and it has been shown to both reduce feelings of jet lag and to help you fall asleep faster.
For the men among you, improved sleep has been shown to increase testosterone, but you might also consider Performance Lab SPORT T-Booster which contains several ingredients that can boost testosterone and therefore improve trading performance (more T = increased cognition).
Other ways to Improve your Trading Ability
Nootropics are a fantastic way to improve your trading performance, but they work best when combined with lifestyle changes. For example, creating a sleep schedule will help you to improve sleep quality. Your body loves routines and going to bed/waking up at the same time each day will help you to fall asleep quicker and wake up better. This also helps you to establish a routine for taking Performance Lab Sleep.
Meditation before bed and before trading can also help to improve focus, clear your mind, and relax you. Taking Performance Lab Mind or Mind Lab Pro before a meditation session could really help to maximize your focus throughout the day.
Finally, we have regular exercise. Trading is basically a sedentary profession. The more successful you are, the less likely you are to be walking around much. You’re too busy making money! Forcing yourself to exercise can make a huge difference to your health, your sleep, and your mental health. Exercise has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms, increase cognition, and boost testosterone. It can also help prevent weight gain. Why not schedule in one hour of walking before you start trading and one hour after you finish?
Hopefully this article has helped you to decide upon your own nootropic/lifestyle routine to follow. Remember that what makes you a good trader (discipline, clear thinking, attention to detail) can also help you to establish excellent habits to improve your health. Nootropics can help you to maximize performance and health.